There is a myth in the kitesurfing industry that there is no money there. I would like to create a different reality for kiteboarding instructors, shops, schools & resorts. I’d like to see every owner of a kiteboarding based business making great money doing what they love, and not missing days on the water or snow because they were so busy working on their business.
I’ve spent the last 3 years obsessively studying and working with insanely successful people. And even gave up days of wind to learn this stuff. In this thread I adapt what I’ve learned for kiteboarding based businesses.
Whether you own a kiteboarding shop, school resort, event organizer or are an independent instructor or pro, he real secret to growing your business is growing your email list. The biggest mistake most people make in business is focusing on building their Facebook friend or fan base, their twitter followers and YouTube subscribers without putting a system in place to own those contacts themselves.
Think about it. Who really owns the connection of your Facebook page fans? Facebook. If they collapse tomorrow or shut down your page you’ve lost all those contacts. The purpose of social media is to direct people to your website. The purpose of your website is to get them to connect with you. Either by calling, emailing, buying or giving you their contact information. A website that achieves these things is an effective website. Don’t be fooled by flashy rotating graphics.
A well cultivated email list filled with eager repeat customers could get you more time on the water and more business.
Why You Need an Email List
Retailers and Resorts: For purchases in the price range typical of kiteboarding gear, SUPs and resort trips it usually 8-10 “touches” to convert a looky lou into a paying customer. A well cultivated email list (along with excellent service & products) turns one time customers in to frequent buyers. A “touch” can be an interaction on Facebook, on Twitter, on YouTube, on the beach or helpful informative emails.
Instructors and Schools: While some people are absolutely obsessed with the idea of learning kiting and sign up right away others may take some time. Either they just aren’t ready or their life circumstances don’t allow it right now. You want to keep in touch with those people, help them remember why they want to learn. With students who complete your program you want to keep in touch with them so they remember you are available as they want to learn new skills and refer friends.
Pros and Event Organizers: Two things sponsors look for are alignment with their message and “reach.” Reach is how many people are likely to see you with their brand. One of the most powerful forms is the email list. These are people who are interested enough to know what you’re up to to have it delivered right to your inbox. A strong, healthy email list can be a powerful asset for attracting sponsors and negotiating deals. With a well cultivated list you could have clinics and tours fully booked well in advance.
How to Build an Email List
1) Set up an account with an email management system. These programs make it possible to send well designed emails with links, graphics, and pictures. It is much easier and more efficient than trying to send from your own email, which is basically illegal anyway. There are laws about business email lists. You must have an unsubscribe option, follow rules about contact info etc. These systems make sure that is all in place for you. I personally like MailChimp. They are very user friendly and have a very robust free program. And they make it easy to connect your MailChimp account to an email capture form on your website.
2) Set up an email capture form on your website. A website with out an opportunity for people to sign up for your email list is like having a store front with lots of cars driving by. When you look at your website traffic analytics and see all those people who visited your site those are all potential customers that came and went and you have no way of ever connecting with them again. When people sign up for your email list you have the opportunity to build a relationship with them.
I’m not going to get into the mechanics of how to set up an email capture form for your site. That is a question for your web developer. Every site is different. Place t on the right hand side of the page. Eye tracking studies reveal people tend to look here first. It is also what people are used to so they are more likely to respond.
More people will sign up for your email list if you offer some sort of freebie in exchange for their contact information. By freebie I mean information, not a physical item. With a good email management program you can set it up that when people register they are automatically sent a welcome email which can include a PDF or video you pre-load. Offer useful information that relates to your business. For example, you may offer 10 Tips for Kiting The Outer Banks or tips for better performance, or a breakdown of how to do a signature move. At this writing I’m breaking my own rule on this. That’s because I’m breaking another rule of business and combining my two threads of business on one site so setting up my registration forms is more complicated. I know I’m losing sign ups while I sort it out.
3) Follow the 4:1 Rule: This is true for all forms of social media. Give four times as much as you ask. Share photos, videos, information and stories. Once you’ve given 4 times make an offer. You can either do this in multiple emails or have one with several “gifts” and a quite offer or information about a sale. If you’re emails are all screaming about sales and bargains people will unsubscribe. If you’re not a writer don’t worry, your emails don’t have to be long. A great picture or video can be enough to keep you in your customer’s mind.
4) Decide how frequently to send emails. This will be different for different businesses. For most the max is 1 per week. For others it may be less frequent. Once every couple of weeks or once a month. It may cycle if there is a big event coming up or going on with more updates. You may want to program reminders into your calendar.
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A question I keep hearing in the kiteboarding industry is how do we attract sponsor dollars from outside the industry? There are two things sponsors look for in allocation of their dollars 1) alignment with their message and image 2) reach – how many eyes will see their logo? Sometimes it is about getting more time in front of their current audience. Sometimes it is about generating exposure in a new demographic they would like to expand into.
Kiteboarding has an inherent advantage in getting sponsor dollars in that it is cool looking, exciting for spectators and even more exciting for anyone who has even a taste of flying a kite. As Ben Wilson has demonstrated our sport is in great alignment with companies like Jeep who market to the sense of adventure.
What we need to do is to start building and demonstrating reach.
Take a typical industry expo or even local shop demo of a specific brand.
Right now it is promoted in kite forums, on kiting social media and in kiting magazines. Events are geared towards people who are already kiting. Brands feeding on the same small school of intermediate kiting fish. To the few non-kiters who happen to stumble across the event it is spectacular. A carnival of bright colors filling the beach and an amazing ballet of kiters on the water. It is exciting, they are curious and there is also this immediate assumption that there’s no way they could ever do it, that it’s too hard.
Imagine this: A Kite Expo with two layers. One, the usual business of the kiteboarding industry and promoted to kiters and another introducing our sport to the community. Have a demo of what this sport is all about for people who have never seen it before. Include pro rider demonstrations in the schedule. Perhaps at 10 am and 2pm. For half half an hour or so the water is cleared for the pros to show off what this sport can do.
We promote it in other social media streams – ones that will draw spectators and ones that may draw in new customers. For example, in Pismo, the wine tasting crowd may not all be potential kiters, but they might really enjoy watching it, learning about it, taking pictures & video, telling their friends & family about what they saw. In Pismo as well there is a whole tribe of adrenaline junkies just down the beach playing on ATV’s. I chatted with a few ATVers. They had no idea of the potential of the sport. Imagine if they were lined up on the dunes watching some of our best hucking huge airs & tricks.
Now imagine if after the exhibition there was an opportunity to try a trainer kite? We have a whole crowd pumped up on the excitement of watching what you can do with a kiteboarding kite and then we put a kite bar in their hands. New customer hooked! Schools and instructors could be part of the expo providing this service. If we get creative I’m sure we can work something out with liability/waivers. Resorts and schools could be included in the event as well. “Ok, you got a taste of the trainer kite, did you know there are great vacations you can take to beautiful beaches to learn this sport?” I’ll bet some spectators would book right then and there. At the very least they sign up for the resorts email list for information on future packages.
Regional schools could also sign up visitors from their area, or offer the opportunity to sign up for lessons with the suggestion of designing your next weekend get away around learning to kite.
We take lots of pictures of the beach filled with spectators and a “your logo here” banner placed where those many eyes are clearly looking.
If you are curious about how to apply these ideas to your next event please contact me.
2)It is easier for others to tag you in posts and photos. When sponsors, fans and magazines want to tag you in their posts about you all they have to do is “like” your page. When that post goes out your page is listed as a link in the post and anyone reading it can check out and “like” your page. With a user page sponsors, fans & magazines can only tag you in a post if their page administrator is a friends with you. Most sponsors & magazines have multiple administrators. If you aren’t “friends” with the person doing a particular post you may not be tagged. Be sure to tag sponsors, magazines & fans back!
3) It provides a layer of privacy. Most kiters don’t have much of a life outside of kiteboarding, but still you may not want to share everything about your family and personal life with 5000 of your closest fans. You can direct them to your fan page where they can keep up on all your kiting news. Parents: This is especially for young riders. Not everyone on the internet is nice. The fan page adds a layer of protection as well. You can direct the “join me on facebook” to this page instead of your personal page.
4) Look like a pro. Potential sponsors want a pro rider that is professional as well as a ripper. You are representing their brand both online and off. If you have a solid professional athlete page it says that you are, well a professional athlete. It also builds the perception of rock star kiter in fans minds when they visit a page that is picture after picture of you ripping and standing on awards platforms.
Click here to create your Facebook professional athlete fan page
When you create your page the url will be lots of gobbledygook code (a highly technical term). Go to this link and set your vanity user name. Your name is best.
Now that your page is set up click the “Use facebook as fan page” button
1) Use a picture of your face for your profile picture. Make sure you are smiling and not wearing sunglasses. Use a killer action shot for your “cover shot”
2) Go “like” all your sponsors, fellow team riders, & magazines pages.
3) Under info load your website & your sponsors’ websites.
4) Load your site with lots of great pictures of your best moves.
Up next: Making your Facebook pro rider page effective.
Action Outdoor & Bike Magazine: Be The Destination -Command the Social Space Surrounding Seasonal Tourism & Special EventsLydia Snider : March 5, 2012 3:53 am : Articles, In The News, Kitesurfing Industry, Social Media
What’s the first thing you do when attending a special event or planning a vacation? Google it. So do your potential customers. To reach them, you need to know what they’re thinking. Many business owners make the mistake of writing clever descriptions of their product or service that do not match their customer’s online searches. In his book “80 Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed,” Patrick Schwerdtfeger shares a killer ninja trick—instead of guess- ing which terms you think customers are searching, Google this: Google Keyword Tool (No need to sign up for Adwords, though Google will do its best to get you to do so!). This will tell you how many people search a given phrase in a month, the competition rate for that phrase on other sites as well as related phrases.
At the risk of sounding like your cyber mother, use your keywords. And use them often via multiple media, including…
What is the foundation of sales, really? It is relationship. And relationship is built with conversation. Facebook, Twitter, Four- Square and Google+, then, can be seen as big online cocktail parties where people are having a dialog and building relationships. The purpose of your Facebook, Twitter and YouTube profiles is to engage in and contribute to the conversation. Like related Facebook pages, follow related Twitter accounts, respond to their posts, tag them in yours.
As an event organizer, don’t assume sponsors and other related organizations are doing their part to promote. Instead, remind them to post about the event in their news- letters, on Facebook, Twitter, etc., and while posting updates to feeds, be sure to tag or mention them. Make it even easier by sending all affiliates an update and asking them to pass it along to their networks.
TURN VISITORS INTO CUSTOMERS
By now, your Google Analytics is lighting up with people visiting your site. Unless they buy something or sign up for your email list, however, this is the equivalent of driving by your brick-and-mortar shop… it does nothing for your bottom line. While some visitors will love your stuff so much that they’ll whip out their card and go to town in your online store, they are the exception to the rule that most people buy after 6–10 touches.
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originally published 2/23/12, revised 5/6/12 on new kiteboarding included in 2016 Olympics
A recent Facebook status by the owner of a kiteboarding company on the bid to get kiteboarding course racing into the Olympics inspired this post. The opinion was that course racing is boring to watch and that lobbying for it as an Olympic event wasn’t worth the effort. (I’ve taken the liberty of paraphrasing with less derogatory terms). I was amazed the owner of a kiteboarding company would even think this, much less say it publicly. As I explain below, the Olympics is an amazing growth opportunity for all forms of kiteboarding, not just course racing.
The response to that was course racing would give those millions of viewers a limited understanding of kiteboarding and what about including bordercross and freestyle? (again paraphrased)
So what about putting freestyle in the Olympics. I’ll bet the people lobbying for course racing have already learned alot about the process of getting a new sport into the Olympics. Perhaps teaming up with them to make a big debut for kitesurfing in the Olympics?
Who Wants To Join Me?
This status is a perfect example of the reason “there is no money in kiteboarding”. As an industry we are at best swimming in every different direction. Each sub type doing their own thing either not aware of what the others are doing. And at worst, as this facebook status and the divisions over contests indicates nipping at each others’ attempts to move the industry forward.
I keep hearing “Why don’t we have any big corporate sponsors like the other fields like surfing, wakeboarding, snow and sailing?” Our sport crosses all of those domains. We have potential to tap into the money that flows in all those areas, both from corporate sponsorship and from expanded customer base. The beauty is we a a complement to all these areas because when it is windy enough to kite it is too blown out to do the original sport.
As an industry we have an amazing opportunity with this 2016 bid to move from a niche industry in danger of dying out or just limping along, with our pros barely making any money, fighting for a limited number of sponsorship dollars within the industry, shops coming & going on the thin margins to a powerful economic force in the actin sports industry.
To do this we need to start working together now. I propose the First Annual Kiteboarding Industry Business Development Summit including representatives from all the different areas of kiteboarding. Each segment shares their efforts for growth, their challenges and what they need. For example, I spoke recently with a snow kiter who is part of a core group that is reaching out to other snow sports who don’t really understand kiting. If you would like to be a part of it, please contact me.
Their goal is to bring Shaun White and all his sponsor dollars into the sport. What can we do to tap into the wakeboarding market? With the price of gas ever increasing don’t you think that crowd would be a little curious about a way to get on the water without the gas guzzling boats? I’ve heard the sailing industry is excited to have us as they’ve come to respect the watermanship required for the sport and they see the potential value of how engaging it is to spectators.
Then there’s the question of connecting with the surfing industry. Last year I got to serve as a judge for the Surf Kayak World Championship. They are having the exact same conversation about connecting with the surfing industry, drawing over surfing pros, spectators and sponsorship dollars. The difference? They are working together world wide to do so. That’s another topic for another post. If you to know what I learned being a part of their pivital world championship you can contact me.
My point for now is that we have been giving an amazing opportunity in this Olympic bid and if we don’t get busy working collaboratively we’re going to squander this opportunity. I’ve been thinking for some time on how to do this and would love to connect with others in the industry who are ready to take the lead.
How To Use Kiteboarding in The Olympics to Build Your Kiteboarding Business
The networks always have all those featured stories between events. I can see one on kitesurfing, what it is, the many different types etc and of course how to learn… As long as we’re at it what about snow kiting for the winter Olympics?
Aside from the potential expansion of direct customer base for schools, shops, kite brands etc. It could also help pro riders and kiting events and contests with the challenge of getting big brand sponsorships beyond the kiteboarding industry. Imagine what having the sport, and pro riders featured in an extended story during the Olympics would do for awareness of the sport not only among viewers, but also sponsors. I’ll bet most marketing departments in the big corporations don’t even know about it. They’ll be scrambling to be the first to feature a kiteboarder in their next “extreme awesome lifestyle” car, soda or financial planning ad.
Having kiteboarding in the Olympics is a great opportunity for instructors, shops, resorts and events as well. Local news show, newspapers, radio shows etc are always looking for a local link. If I had a kiteboarding based business as soon as the announcement is made that kiting is in the Olympics I’d get busy planning a cool event to introduce the sport to the people in my area who are about to become very curious and excited. Maybe an exhibition to highlight the unique riding of your area. I’d start contacting organizers of MeetUps to team up offering an introductory experience. I’d contact all the local and regional networks, radio stations & papers and let them know that that cool new sport in the Olympics is right here in their backyard.
Note every one of the millions viewers of the Olympics will want to learn kiteboarding. Many will just enjoy coming out to watch events. We’ll have spectators beyond fellow riders and spectators = sponsor dollars.
1) Find out who posts to social media and Share, Share, Share! It is hard work feeding the social media machine everyday! You are doing them a favor by sending them fun stuff, information on a regular basis. Always include a picture or video. Great pictures and videos spread best online.
- Share everyday sessions – fun snapshots and short videos from everyday sessions where you see cool critters or have a great session thanks to the gear or especially great or unusual conditions, people seem to really love sunsets – a great shot of the gear and you as the sunsets – facebook fans love that stuff! Be sure to include clear shots of your sponsors’ logos!
- Share frequently during events – Fans love the “behind the scenes” stories of events. As well as the official shots the pics you snap with your phone can be great material for your sponsors to keep you and the event at the forefront of their social media feeds. Just be sure to stay on brand message. Put the phone away when before the late night insanity starts.
- Share information about your upcoming events. Contests, beaches you are going to visit, clinics you are hosting etc. Sponsors can’t share what they don’t know about.
2) Provide links to your online profiles. Ideally, if you are really building your brand you have a website of your name, a facebook fan page and a twitter account. Provide all these to your sponsors’ social media feeders. Let them know which you prefer them to link to when they post articles.
3) Provide pictures with current gear. As soon as you get your new gear do a photo shoot and get lots of pictures of you smiling with the board, the kite, wearing their t-shirt. When writing articles about you it is really helpful to have a collection of current, on brand headshots. Also include good basic action shots where your face is clearly visible. This is especially important if you are new to a brand.
Here is a great example of a video. Notice the clip of him putting his sponsors stickers on his board, notice the shot of the board in the snow – the sponsors logos are incorporated into the action. He shows the back story of him getting to the event. I he sponsored by Air France yet? Get enough hits on the video and he’ll probably be able to sign them on!
Bonus: Building and Monetizing Your Brand as a Pro Kiter
I’ve spent the last 3 years learning how people in other industries build and monetize their personal brand. It isn’t necessarily the person who is the best at whatever it is that makes the money. It is the person who commits the most attention to building and monetizing their brand that gains the most notoriety and makes the most money.
Website: You aren’t going to be competing and winning forever. The goal of this phase of your career as a professional kiteboarder is to build your brand and build your fan base. In the off season and when you are ready to retire from the competition circuit you can sell your videos & the privilege of attending your clinics or kite expeditions for a premium price. The purpose of your website is to capture your fan base.
Think of the internet as a big ocean filled with fishes. Your goal is to get all the ones that love you onto your email list. Why do you want an email list? It is a source of direct income. These are the people that are most likely to buy your videos and snap up a chance to go to your clinic. Utilized correctly and email list can equal a dollar per month per contact. Imagine if you had an email list of 2000+ people?
It can increase your appeal to sponsors. Companies sponsor people for two reasons. 1) Their image is in alignment with what the company wants to portray 2) They believe it will expand their exposure to new customers. Want to get that sunblock or energy drink sponsorship? Show them you’ve got reach. An email list is powerful reach. These are people who trust you enough to give you their contact information. Sponsors know that is powerful. Set up an email capture box on the right hand side of your website. Offer fans some sort of free content, like a video teaching them one of your cool maneuvers, in exchange for their contact information. Also put your facebook and twitter and contact links on the upper right hand side. This is where people tend to look first.
Facebook Fan Page: If you don’t already have one, as soon as you are done reading this post, go create one. Having a professional athlete page makes you seem like, well, a professional athlete. It is much easier for sponsors to tag a professional page in facebook posts, which then link their fans back to you. Fan pages are not limited on numbers of people who can like them. Personal pages are limited to 5000. You can set up the same box offering an exclusive video in exchange for their contact information on this page. Funneling facebook fans to your contact list.
Twitter: When sponsors mention you in their twitter posts by your twitter handle it sends fans to you there. Some people like email, some like facebook, some like twitter. You want to have all those funnels feeding leads to your site.
Click here if you would like further personal consultation on building and monetizing your brand.
The two fastest growing segments in the travel industry are adventure travel and volunteer tourism. If you run a kiteboarding resort, hotel or travel package you’ve got the adventure travel market’s attention. What about all those volunteer tourists?
Double Your Customers’ Stoke
Buying decisions area based on emotion. When people connect your product or service to moving towards pleasure and away from pain they buy and they refer their friends. One of the most powerful positive emotions is the feeling that comes from having made a difference. One of the most fundamental human drives is to contribute. When we contribute we feel really good. Imagine if your customers went home with both stoke over great wind and the flood of good feelings that comes from having made a difference. It will make the more likely to become repeat customers and raving fans.
Cater To the Kiteboarding Culture
Based on my highly unscientific observations I’ve noticed that kiteboarders tend to want to contribute to the communities where they kite. Just look at La Ventana Mexico. The hotels and their visitors have helped fund the school, helped stop the suffering of the many feral dogs and cats by setting up a spay and neutering program, cleaned the trash out of the arroyos and set up a recycling program.
Kristin Boese does it with her Kiteboarding For Girls Clinics. Instead of paying a fee participants raise money which is then donated to a local charity. I did the clinic and the fundraising and experienced first hand the double stoke. It was pretty powerful!
Kiteboarders want to make a difference in the communities where they kite. Give your customers what they want!
Create Partnerships & Support What’s Already There
Offering a Volunteer Tourism Kiteboarding Adventure doesn’t have to be more work for you. There are already individuals and organizations working tirelessly to serve the communities. They will greatly appreciate the support! Here’s the site that inspired this post. Global Kiter Foundation has a great list of projects in kiteboarding communities around the world. Laurel Eastman is helping the locals rebuilt their church in Cabarete
Which one would be a good match to create the kiteboarding adventure that offers double the stoke?
If you know of other kiteboarding organizations or projects that are contributing to the communities where they kite please post them here.
What is an effective facebook fan page anyway? A facebook page is effective when your posts show up in your fans feeds and when they interact with your page. The more your fans interact with your page the more likely your future posts will be included in their feed. And of course the more they interact the more those likes, shares and comments are shown in their friends feeds.
I’m using Kite Adventures‘ fan page for several of these examples because their consistently excellent job generating effective posts inspired this entry.
1) Always Post Pictures
That is, if you’re not posting video. The two media that people like most online are videos and pictures. You’ll notice on their page that even if they are just asking a question they post a related picture.
2) Ask Questions
Take a look at the comment rate on the posts that ask a question verses the ones that just share information. Questions are an invitation to interact.
3) Balance Business Offers with Just For Fun Stuff
Generally a good rule of thumb is to sprinkle in offers about your business about one in every 4 to 5 posts. Kiteboarding Adventures takes it one step further by integrating fun stuff into their offering posts.
4) Create Themed Photo Albums
If you are having a special event create a photo album for it. Post pictures to the album throughout the event. Each photo added shows up in your feed and the group are all stored together in an album. As of very recently Facebook no longer allows fan pages to tag personal profiles in posts or albums. You can invite participants to share albums or pictures on their profiles.
You may also want to create albums for ongoing themes. For example if you are an instructor an album of “Kiteboarding Lessons Firsts” where you post pictures of your many happy customers grinning ear to ear at their first water start, turn etc. Or even better put on a helmet cam and catch their firsts on video.
Resorts, does your spot have particularly gorgeous sunrises or sunsets? Consider creating an album for sunsets. Next to babies and kittens I’ve found people like and comment on sunsets the most.
5) Encourage Fans to Tag You in Their Photos
F-One Kiteboarding Americas is great at this. Seventy percent of people surveyed indicated that recommendations from friends and family significantly influence their buying decisions. These days with the popularity of websites like Yelp more and more people are getting used to following online recommendations. When fans broadcast how much they love you on your fan page it goes to all their friends’ feeds.
Double check when you are “liking” other pages that you are using facebook as yourself and not as your fan page. When you are accidentally signed in as your fan page your likes show up there instead of on your personal page. You don’t want random unrelated “likes” listed on your fan page. It confuses customers.
One of the keys to making money in the kiteboarding industry is to create partnerships outside the kiteboarding industry. This is especially true for kiteboarding instructors and schools. As a kiteboarding instructor or school when you are not on the beach giving kiteboarding instruction your number one priority is to let people who don’t know about kiteboarding or who do and are curious to try know about you and your services.
One Of The Most Overlooked Opportunities
If you haven’t heard about MeetUp.com you’ll want to check it out as soon as you finish reading this post and clicking the “like” or “tweet” button. MeetUp is basically the ultimate online community bulletin board for people who want to get together for everything from eating to business to book clubs to mom groups, to adventure. Name even the most obscure hobby or interest there is probably a MeetUp group for it. If there isn’t you can start one and they will come.
I use MeetUp for my own business by giving presentations to business oriented MeetUp groups. It’s a win all around. I get the opportunity for new people to learn about me. The organizer gets a great event for their group. And the members of the group get an entertaining and informative presentation.
It’s a Win/Win/Win
Most MeetUp group organizers want to have a great MeetUp group with events that members actually attend. One of their biggest challenges is consistently coming up with great events. I can’t tell you how often when I’ve approached and organizer about giving a presentation they’ve responded with a “Yes!” dripping with gratitude and relief as I’ve just saved them the worry and trouble of figuring out what to offer their members next month.
When you check out MeetUp.com you’ll likely find many groups that would love an event on introductions to kitesurfing – a day on the beach with an expert to answer all the questions they’ve always wanted to know but were afraid to ask and the opportunity to try the trainer kite.
Don’t Make the Mistake I Made
When you hold the event don’t make the mistake I made when I first started. I gave a great presentation. The participants had a great time and learned a great deal. They went home inspired. I went home feeling happy and excited about how well it went. But I didn’t have a single person’s contact information. I didn’t share with them how they could continue working with me. Which is really unfortunate because it is when I have the opportunity to work with people over an extended period that they get the lasting change in their lives.
If you don’t offer participants the opportunity to sign up for lessons you are depriving them of the fulfillment and joy we all know kiting provides. Ok, maybe you are doing them a favor. Since kiting also ruins lives by making settling for the routine unbearable. You will need to discuss with the organizer what kind of offer you can make. Some organizers are very sensitive to having a hard sell to their participants. Though with kiteboarding it is natural participants would want to know about lessons.
At the very least be absolutely sure to get their email addresses and add them to your list so you can directly share with them future opportunities to take lessons.
Utilize MeetUp for SEO
Search Engine Optimization isn’t just about having the right words on your website anymore. One way to fill the first page of a Google search is to put a stake in other sites that have great Google optimization. Sites like Yelp, Facebook, Twitter and MeetUp. Set up a MeetUp profile. Along with a description of who you are and your services you have the opportunity to post your website, facebook page, etc. You’ll need it anyway to communicate with MeetUp group organizers. Consider also establishing your own MeetUp group.
How exhausting is it to be constantly finding new clients for kiteboarding instruction? What if the initial kite lessons were just the beginning of your clients working with you? As an instructor you can probably spot the top 10 mistakes advanced beginner and intermediate kiters are making. You know how much time they are wasting. What bad habits they are forming. These are the riders need you to make your expertise available.
Think About Your Clients in A New Way
Many kite instructors practice catch and release with kiteboarding students. Catch ‘em, Teach ‘em and Release ‘em out onto the water. Instead, try thinking of new students as life long clients you have just met.
Enrolling new clients requires much more work. Once you count in the hours it requires to market, to reach out to the leads that don’t turn into clients, the hard work teaching beginners requires you really aren’t earning much. What if you had a list of customers eagerly awaiting for your next clinic? Customers rushing to sign up before it fills up. Customers calling you to book private sessions to work on a specific skill?
Proven Business Model
The personal growth seminar world business model has made many people very good money and easily adapts to kiteboarding instruction. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the seminar world it is people like Tony Robbins. People pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars to learn from the experts in their field. You are an expert in the field (beach) of kiteboarding. You may not reach the mutli-millions of dollars per year that he does. It would probably be nice to have an extra few hundred or thousand every month.
The seminar gurus actually have it much harder than kite instructors. They are trying to get “cold leads” into their events. You have it easy. Your clients already know and love you. After all you were the one that made kiteboarding possible for them. They are piping hot leads for your intermediate and advanced courses.
What Would I Teach?
Take some time to watch your target market on the water. Make note of their mistakes and the bad habits they are forming. Talk to them on the beach. Or rather take, note of the skills they are trying to pump you for free information on every time they talk to you. Get curious. Ask them what their biggest challenges are. What they would most like to learn next.
Now Book ‘em! Advanced beginner, intermediate and even advanced intermediate clients are just waiting for the opportunity to take their kiting to the next level!